1 h
Parfait is a classic French ice cream made from egg yolks, sugar, and cream. In our French parfait recipe, a touch of vanilla has been added. This frozen cream dessert is characterised by the cream being whipped into a whipped cream which is then folded into the ice cream mixture, making parfait a deliciously airy ice cream. Try this easy French parfait recipe with vanilla the next time you feel like homemade ice cream in a lighter, airier way!


  • Whip cream to a light foam.
  • Beat egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla seeds until fluffy.
  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the egg mix.
  • Pour the ice cream into a mould (approx. 1 litre) and place it in the freezer, covered. Stir the ice cream 4-5 times during freezing.
  • Serve with waffles and fresh berries, for example.

With a French parfait ice cream, you are essentially whisking your way to perfection. It is a question of getting as much air as possible into the parfait mixture before placing it in the freezer and stirring it at regular intervals. This is done to ensure the airy texture that the frozen French cream dessert is known for.


To get the perfect whipped cream for your parfait ice cream, you can chill the bowl (preferably, a metal or glass bowl) for 15 minutes before use. When whisking, the cold bowl will make the cream's fat chilled, ensuring your whipped cream will be light, airy, and better able of holding it shape.


Another way to ensure an airy parfait ice cream is to beat the eggs and sugar for a long time. About 5 minutes should do it but keep going until the mixture has become a very pale-yellow colour, almost white and until the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should 'bloom' considerately, that is, grow until it has almost doubled in size. Remembering to gently fold the whipped cream into this egg and sugar mixture is essential. Otherwise, the trapped air may be knocked out of the mixture.

Questions about parfait

It is quite simple to make a delicious frozen French dessert with our simple parfait ice cream recipe as well as tips on how to ensure the airy texture for which it is known. Learn more about French parfait by reading our answers to some frequently asked questions below.

How to make parfait ice cream?
Making a French parfait ice cream is even easier than making regular homemade ice cream. Simply whip cream, make the egg mixture, fold whipped cream gently into the mixture, and pour the parfait into a mould. Remember to stir the parfait at regular intervals. Once frozen, enjoy your French parfait ice cream as it is, with fresh berries, or as a side to other French classics like crepes or a galette.
What is the difference between parfait and ice cream?
The main differences between a French parfait and a classic ice cream are found in their textures and the way they are made rather than in the ingredient lists. In a classic ice cream recipe, the cream is not whipped before being mixed with the other ingredients in the ice cream base. Also, this base is cooked before being frozen. This is not the case in a traditional French parfait recipe, where the cream is whipped before being folded into the parfait base, which is frozen uncooked, making a parfait even lighter and airier than a regular ice cream.
How long does it take to make parfait?
All in all, it takes about 4,5 hours to make French parfait. Even though the final 4 hours are freezing time, they are included because the parfait must be stirred at regular intervals during this time. It is of course possible to let the parfait sit in the freezer for longer. As such, you can easily prepare this French dessert in advance and remove it from the freezer about 10 minutes before you wish to serve it.


Double cream
½ l
Egg yolks
Sugar (approx. ¾ dl)
60 g
Vanilla pod - seeds

Traditional French parfait ice cream

Parfait means perfect in French and this traditional frozen dessert is nothing short of perfect. A traditional French parfait recipe, unlike a traditional ice cream recipe, calls for the cream to be whipped before being combined with other ingredients. As such, a parfait has more air whipped into it before it is frozen, whereas a 'regular' ice cream has most of its air content introduced during churning as it freezes.

Ice cream parfait, therefore, is airy, creamy, and essentially almost like a frozen custard. Another wonderful thing about parfait ice cream is how easy it is to make and the fact that no ice cream maker is needed. So even though you do not own an ice cream machine, you can whip up a delicious, frozen dessert in the form of a French parfait ice cream.

Light and airy with a hint of vanilla

Our traditional French parfait ice cream recipe makes an aerated frozen dessert with a smooth texture and a firm, yet creamy consistency. Though it is light, our parfait is rich in flavour, owing to the cream and egg yolks it contains. The hint of vanilla enhances the natural sweetness of these humble ingredients and gives the parfait ice cream an aromatic, floral touch that is present without being overpowering. The combination of the flavours yielded by the few, but high-quality, ingredients are sure to delight whomever you decide to share it with.

If you want to experiment with other types of vanilla-flavoured ice cream desserts, why not have a look at our recipes for old-fashioned ice cream or be inspired by our vanilla ice cream with plums and buckwheat brittle.

Impress your guest with a French dessert

Traditionally a parfait is served in elegant slices made by slicing it with a knife dipped in hot water. Because the consistency of the ice cream parfait is so soft and creamy, it is quite malleable. This makes it easier to shape than regular ice cream which in turn means that you can pipe your parfait or easily shape it using different moulds or frames. As such, your option for how to serve your parfait ice cream are many. Regardless of how you decide to present this dessert, though, it is sure to impress everyone with its delicate taste and airy texture.

While French parfait ice cream may of course be enjoyed as it is, you can also choose to pair it with other classic French dishes like our apple galette or crepes suzette for an all-around French dessert extravaganza.

Add your own touch

Like most other frozen delights, an ice cream parfait is perfect for those hot summer days and nights. As many fruits are in season during this time as well, serving your French parfait with a selection of fresh fruits and berries is a wonderful option. Sweet fruits and berries like peach, strawberry, and blueberry complement the parfait ice cream beautifully and adds a freshness to the custardy dessert.

Using more acidic and tangy options like rhubarb, cranberry, and gooseberry or garnishing your parfait with a bit of zest from your favourite citrus fruit is also recommendable as these fruits and berries really brighten the dish. Serving a traditional French parfait ice cream when most fruits and berries are not in season is, of course, also entirely possible. Here, making a delicious, homemade fruit syrup from frozen fruits to drizzle onto the parfait is a lovely option; for example, a raspberry sauce made by boiling raspberry with a bit of sugar.